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HMRC internal manual

Film Production Company Manual

Overview and general definitions: when a film is ‘completed’

CTA09/S1181 (5)

For the purposes of the tax regime for film production introduced by FA06, a film is completed when it is first in a form in which it can reasonably be regarded as ready for presentation to the general public.

In the case of a film intended for theatrical release in the commercial cinema, this will normally be when it is ready to be delivered to a distributor, even if, exceptionally, it is later sent back to the producer for changes. (While a film may be exhibited earlier at a film festival, this may not be a completed version which would be released to the distributor. Indeed the purpose of exhibition at a festival may be to sell the film, raising money so that it can be completed.)

A film will not fail to be completed simply because it does not achieve general release. The condition is that it must be ready for presentation, and not that it is actually presented. Situations may arise, for example, in which general release is delayed for a period after completion or a suitable distribution deal cannot be found for the film. Neither of these circumstances should prevent the film from being regarded as completed.